Hi, I’m Jess! I’m 39, a proud mom to 9-year-old twins (and a 7-year-old pug) and an elementary school teacher. I love spending time with my family, reading, organizing, running, and am especially into home redecorating and remodeling. I also happen to be a VERY picky shopper (quite a bit of buying and returning happening here), which means that everything I recommend on this list has “passed the test” for me. That includes the BEST leggings out there, incredible cloths that keep my face clean and clear with only water, and the one-two punch recipe for perfect sleep that took me years to find.
I’m so happy to share some of my all-time favorite purchases with you, and hope you’ll find a few that you love as much as I do. Thanks for reading!
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My mattress was starting to show its age, but I wasn’t exactly eager to take on the expense of a brand-new one. A friend recommended this thick, memory foam mattress topper, and it’s incredible! It’s just the right firmness – hugging my body in a supportive way, without making me feel like I’m sinking into quicksand. It’s SO much cheaper than a new mattress, and the cover is extremely easy to remove and wash. I’m getting sleepy just typing about it…
I have owned SO many throw blankets, but this one is something special. I love its ultra-soft textured feel, and the pompoms add some casual fun to the look! I get compliments on it from almost everyone who sees it, but more than anything I love how warm and soft it is to snuggle under with my twins for movie nights. Oh, and speaking of kids – it also washes really well!
Where do I start with these just-might-be-perfect yoga pants? They’re incredibly comfortable, they’re available in 20+ colors, they come with a LARGE pocket (perfect for holding a phone during workouts), and they do a great job “smoothing out the chunk” – my own pet phrase for “shapewear”. There’s so many glowing reviews for these, and plenty of in-use shots to show just how flattering they can be. I recommend ordering a size up from your usual!
My sister-in-law and I are both huge fans of this particular ginger tea. I love having a mug nightly with a little bit of honey. Not only does it help me sate my own sweet tooth, but it also calms my stomach and helps me relax before bedtime. I like to steep mine a bit longer than the recommended 7 minutes, and always toss a couple ice cubes in to make it immediately sippable. Give it a try!
I’ve been using wool dryer balls for years, as I wanted to get away from chemical-laden dryer sheets. I spray these with a bit of essential oils before each cycle to add fragrance and toss them in. My clothes come out feeling soft, smelling great, and generally wrinkle-free! I keep a second set on hand so I don’t have to dig through the clothes before getting another cycle drying.
You know you’re a true adult-adult when you can get this passionate about a bathmat. I bought the runner-sized version to help unify the bathroom space, and it looks fantastic. I love the feel of the thick, nubby chenille pile, which also happens to soak up water like a sponge. I’ve had mine for a couple years and it looks nearly new, and holds up great in the wash.
This simple clipfolio may be the most useful thing I’ve ever bought for work. I keep my lesson plans clipped on top, my calendar in the inside pocket, and have the notepad readily available for meetings and any other note-taking that comes up throughout the day. It’s an easy, all-in-one solution that I wish I’d found when I first started teaching 18 years ago!
I keep this cover on my front passenger seat, where my pug most often sits (safely and securely strapped in!) I bought it for the price-point, but it’s proven pretty invaluable in protecting my upholstery from an onslaught of pug-fur, pug-drool, and dirty wintry pug-paw stains. It’s easy to take on and off, and washes up super well!
As a chronic house re-decorator, I’m also a compulsive wall-repainter, so I’ve gone through quite a bit of painting equipment over the years. I am not exaggerating when I say that this paint brush is the best I’ve ever used. Its shorter, rubbery handle makes it comfortable to hold, and the fine, angled brush end makes it an incredible tool for edging ceilings and baseboards. My 68-year-old dad borrowed it for his last painting project, and loved it so much he ordered his own the same day (and he basically never buys anything)!
Here’s one of those so-cheap-I’ll-try-it buys that paid off! The Handy Paint Cup allows you to keep your paint close to the source (way less drippage), includes a handy handle, and best of all has a magnet inside the cup that’ll hold your brush when you’re not using it. This way you can keep your brush tip from drying out, and never have to hunt for a safe place to put the brush down. I lent this to my Dad along with the best brush ever, and he bought one of these as well!
I still can’t believe I was able to get this planter on Amazon. It has a lovely mix of dull and glossy detailing, and a subtle pattern that mixes and matches with my decor, however often I switch it up.
These chubby mechanical pencils are perfect for teaching handwriting. The triangular grip helps little hands with handwriting messes, and the thicker lead means way less breakage than other mechanical pencils. I keep a special cup full of them at our small group reading table, and kids feel SO cool using them!
I truly believe these are the perfect tumblers. They look great, they’re incredibly easy to clean and leave no nooks and crannies where mold can take hold. I bring them to school every day to keep hydrated with ice water, and toss them in the dishwasher every evening.
I’ve had to have a lot of cosmetic dental work done, and this WaterPik came recommended by my dentist to keep everything in top shape. It’s just as effective as flossing, without putting the same stress on my teeth. I love how clean and fresh it leaves my gums feeling, and my kids even enjoy using it! I’ve had mine for a few years and it’s been trouble-free and easy to clean.
I love these Scrubdaddy sponges so much, I get a mutli-pack every year from my aunt for Christmas! They stay firm in cold water (perfect for aggressive scrubbing), and soften up in warm water. They foam soap quite nicely, they NEVER smell, and the design provides convenient holes for your fingers while cleaning.
If I could pick one product that might be “magic”, it’s these Norwex cloths. I’ve been using them for every day for years with fantastic results. You just wet them with water and wipe down your face. They’re soft on sensitive facial skin and really work to minimize breakouts. I’ve even used them to help with back and chest breakouts as well. Again, you don’t use any soap with these things — only water!
I adore these running shorts. From the belly-controlling high and thick waistband, to the phone-holding zipper pocket, to the flattering dolphin-cut leg, to the the quick-dry fabric and the built-in undie liner… they’re the perfect combination of everything you could ask for in a running short. I’ve got them in three different colors!
I’ve been wearing these Haflinger clogs daily for the last 12 years or so (hence being on my fourth pair!) They’re an incredibly cozy blend of wool upper and Birkenstock-like cork/latex footbed, and make incredible house shoes. My daughter loves to borrow them to wear around the house, and my Mom fell in love with mine about 8 years ago, and is on her second pair now. They’re not cheap, but man are they worth it!
A few years ago I made the “big decision” to finally stop wearing cheap, short-lived socks. Since then I’ve been on a quest to find the “perfect” socks, and I think these merino wool numbers are they! They’re my goldilocks socks (goldisocks?): just thick enough, warm without being sweaty, and attractive without drawing attention to themselves. And the best part? They’re barely more expensive than my old, cheap socks!
I’m not exaggerating: my daughter has a pretty sensitive scalp, and this popular Wet Brush is the only one she’ll let near her! It’s great for regular combing and painless detangling, and from what I can see on Amazon, incredibly popular.
If you haven’t tried these Pop Storage Jars yet, it’s time! They have button-activated airtight seal that keeps all of their contents ultra-fresh. I especially love using them for dog food — not only does the seal keep the food fresh, but I can easily see when the Dear Pug will need a refill. Plus, they’re quite a bit better-looking than bags.
I was so uncomfortable when pregnant with my twins, I had to sleep sitting straight up on the couch, and this hilarious-yet-effective Wrap-a-Nap was a lifesaver! I’ve worn it nightly ever since. It provides total darkness, wraps a pillow around the entirety of my head, and even drowns out noise! I like to pair it with foam earplugs for a total sensory-deprivation experience. It’s also incredible for migraines – the immediate dark and quiet helps nip those awful things in the bud. I give these as gifts every Christmas and they’re ALWAYS a hit. I can’t recommend it highly enough!
I don’t often spend this much on a purse, but this Dooney & Burke crossbody purse was a rare (birthday-related) exception. I love its classic shape, the accessible outside zipper, and the compact-yet-efficient size. It easily fits my wallet, phone, sunglasses, keys, hand-sanitizer and Kleenex, and it looks fantastic!
My Orthopedist recommended these exact insoles to help with knee pain after jogging, and they’ve worked wonders – literally ending my knee pain! They’re soft in just the right way, while providing plenty of arch support. I’ve bought 6+ pairs and keep them in all of my running and every-day-wear shoes.
I bought this stool a few years back to help the kids climb onto the toilet, and reach the sink more easily. Now we use it all over the house to help little hands reach higher places. It’s cheap, durable, and has nice rubbery feet that make it very slip-proof.
As I mentioned before, I have a bit of a buy-and-try-and-often-return habit, which extends from clothing and decor to actual furniture! This was my third kitchen table I tried, and the moment I set it up I knew it was the one. I love the rustic look paired with the large, chunky legs. The finish is durable and easy to clean, and since it’s a variegated finish, it hides imperfections and scratches easily — pretty important when you’ve got two active 9-year-olds using it for hours a day!
I had searched forever for the perfect chairs to pair with my kitchen table until I realized something: they didn’t exist. Instead, I went with these amazing benches, and I’m so glad I did. They fit way more people, they’re easier to keep clean, and they look like they were made for my table.
I share my bedroom with my lovely pug, who just so happens to have the world’s loudest snoring habit (it sounds a lot cuter than it is!) These simple foam earplugs are part of my secret recipe for great sleep, despite all the noise. They’re extremely soundproof and surprisingly comfortable, especially considering I have very narrow ear canals.
I love this protein powder. It comes in a huge container, has an extremely long shelf-life, and tastes (at least to me) exactly like a Frosty from Wendy’s! It’s also a great way to get increased protein into the kid’s diets — especially when they’re pretty meat-averse.
I’m honestly surprised by my own enthusiasm for these Tweezerman tweezers, but when you find something this good, you’ve gotta share! These are simply the best tweezers I’ve ever used. They’re beautifully made, and grab the hair with such precision, you get it out at the root every time. I even gifted a pair to my younger brother, whose “unibrow” I’ve made fun of for decades!
These magic magnetic hooks work on surfaces that other, inferior magnets can’t cling onto! I use them all over the classroom to hold up large, heavy chart paper pads and posters. At home they hold up our large calendar pad, and a host of different cooking utensils around the kitchen. They are seriously great!
I use this black masking tape all over the classroom. It’s great for dividing up endless whiteboard space, and looks so much classier than the regular blue painter’s tape. It’s also available in more than 10 colors, and is much higher quality than any other tape I’ve used!
We get SERIOUS winters here, so it’s incredibly important that my kiddos are properly equipped for cold weather. My daughter loves these mittens. They keep her hands warm (Thinsulate lining is key), they’re thin enough to play in, and the best part? Extra-long cuffs that prevent the dreaded snow-up-the-sleeve feeling anyone who grew up with winters can remember.
I love decorating (and redecorating) our house, and have probably gone through hundreds of these Command Strips. They’re simple to apply, hold plenty of weight, and make it so easy to adjust whatever you’re hanging. No holes in your walls to patch, no peeling paint to cover up. They’re great!
I’ve been taking the kids skiing this year, and these snowpants were such a perfect buy. They’re inexpensive but warm and comfortable, and the bib-style prevents any unfortunate lower-back/butt-crack revelations at inopportune times! And the extra-long zipper opening makes them surprisingly easy to put on and take off.
I tried these braided hair ties on a whim, and I’m so glad I did! They’ve got a nice, braided look and hold my hair well without squeezing or pulling. Honestly, they could even make a pretty good-looking bracelet!
I have bought and returned SO many backpacks, it’s made for a fairly embarrassing Amazon history. Finally, I found this backpack, and I’m done looking. It’s perfect in basically every way — size, look, color, weight. The side pockets are perfect for holding my empty coffee travel mug and water bottle, the included laptop sleeve provides protection for my macbook, the front pocket gives easy access to my phone, and the sleek fabric makes it SO easy to clean. Plus, it just looks really lovely 😀
I’ve been a committed coffee drinker for over 20 years, and this Solimo Dark Roast is some of the best I’ve ever had! It’s robust and strong, without being too bitter, and every guest I’ve served it to remarks on how great it tastes. Best of all, it’s an incredible value for the price!
I’m not always in the mood for fixing myself an entire breakfast, so often one of these protein bars hits the spot. I’m a huge sucker for birthday cake flavor, so they’re definitely a treat, but each bar packs 21 grams of protein, 9 essential amino acids, 14 grams of fiber and only 1 gram of sugar and 4 grams of carbs. I highly recommend them for anyone who wants a quick meal or a sweat treat with some actual nutritional value.
I’m a mom and a first grade teacher, which means that coffee is a must-have every single morning. I use this simple travel coffee mug every day on my drive to school. I like how easy it is to clean, and how secure the lid closes onto the mug — it’s never going to pop off and surprise you with a nice shower of scalding coffee. It keeps my coffee warmer far longer than I’d expect for a non-insulated mug, and washes up beautifully in the dishwasher.
I love this Norwex rescue gel. Its combination of botanicals like Devil’s Claw, chamomile and arnica work to minimize muscle tension and help with my headaches. It even helps minimize itching after mosquito bites! I’m not entirely sure how it works, but I know that it DOES work, and I keep it in my purse every day.
These simple white serving trays are great! We’ve got one on the ottoman for holding drinks, plates, and remotes, and a whole stack of them for everything else. Want a mess-free dinner on the couch? Grab a tray. Want to start a new Lego kit? Grab a tray! They’re minimalist and lovely, made from very solid melamine, and so easy to clean. Plus, above all else: they STACK!
As a bit of a design obsessive, I’d always been bothered by our yellowed, 1970s builder-grade outlets. But they function perfectly, and I wasn’t about to sink hundreds and hundreds of dollars into replacing them just for the look. That’s why I was so excited to find these outlet face covers. They provide an instant, clean, modern look over your existing outlets, covering the entire thing, rather than just acting as a traditional surround. Such an easy, cheap upgrade!
Sometimes you buy something that suits you so well, you don’t even think about it. These running shoes are a great example. They just work! They’re comfortable, supportive, and have caused me zero knee pair or blisters. I’ve tried SO many pairs of running shoes, and I’m so grateful I found these. They better never discontinue them…
These are my all-time favorite workout socks. They hug my feet perfectly, with elastic that guarantees they’ll never slip. They still look brand-new after all my muddy, outdoor running, and dozens of cycles in the wash.
This is called the Car Cache, and it’s hands-down my favorite addition I’ve made to my car. It keeps my purse resting safely (and upright!) on the center console, so I can easily access anything I might need while behind the wheel. No more fishing in the wheel wells or stretching to the back seat to get what I need.
When I don’t feel like using my favorite backpack, I resort to this roomy-but-stylish hobo purse. It’s so roomy, it can fit all of my large-purse essentials, in addition to work must-haves like my laptop and clipfolio.
These supplements were recommended to me by a fitness coach and dietician, and I’ve been using them as needed for years. They don’t cause any stomach pain like other laxatives, nor do they lead to bloating and gas like I’ve experienced before. I love the restorative, calming effects they’ve had on my system.